If you thought that after a fiery sunset your time viewing the cherry blossoms was over, then think again! Going to view cherry blossoms at night is a very normal and festive event during the spring, and for the first time since coming to Japan, I partook in a bit of night hanami myself.
What is Yozakura?
Yozakura ( 夜桜 ) is simply “night cherry blossoms” in Japanese. Usually, areas with cherry blossoms will hang up some small lanterns, usually very simple paper ones. The goal is to produce just the right amount of light to give the flowers an ethereal glow about them. Some parks have small spotlights installed to really contrast the lightness of the flowers against the evening sky. No matter where you go to watch the evening blossoms, you’re sure to get a nice eyeful!
Shingashi River Bed
Cherry Blossoms Near Hikawa Shrine
Near our local love shrine, the Mrs. and I went to a small river, the Shingashi River, where rows of cherry blossoms line the bed. It was after sunset, around 7:30 PM. We walked along the river as families fired up grills and children ran up and down the walkways. The air was filled with laughter as the hum of the electric lights lit up the blossoms at peak bloom, giving the evening a calm, almost summer-like feeling to it. This area is wonderful for relaxing in general, but with the cherry blossoms alight, it really is one of the most Japanese experiences you can have that gives you this connection with the past: You can imagine lords and ladies in extravagant robes, sitting astride the river, sipping sake and having a great time.
It’s worth your time to throw on a jacket and go out with some friends or family to look upon the flowers in the evening!